A book on New Zealand native trees which took seven years to put together has taken out the top spot in a national literature competition.
New Zealand's Native Trees authored by John Dawson and Rob Lucas was announced as the overall winner of the New Zealand Post Book Awards at a ceremony in Auckland on Wednesday evening.
The authors drove over 100,000km throughout the country to research the 576-page book which contains more than 2300 photos taken mainly by Lucas.
The book also won the illustrated non-fiction category.
Judges convenor Chris Bourke praised the work, saying it was an example of publishing seen only once in a generation.
"From the detailed and authoritative research, accessible and comprehensive writing, detailed yet expansive photography, near flawless editing, design and layout this is a quality book from start to finish," he said in a statement.
New Zealand's Native Trees describes and illustrates more than 320 species, subspecies and varieties.
The overall winners received $15,000, the people's choice $5000 and the remaining five category winners received $10,000.
Winners of the New Zealand Post Book Awards:
* New Zealand's Native Trees by Dawson and Rob Lucas - overall and illustrated non-fiction
* Rangatira by Paula Morris - fiction
* Shift by Rhian Gallagher - poetry
* Tupaia: The Remarkable Story of Captain Cook's Polynesian Navigator by Joan Druett - non-fiction
* Toku Reo, Toku Ohooho: My Language, My Inspiration by Chris Winitana - Maori language
* From Under the Overcoat by Sue Orr - people's choice.